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Artisan Stories: Metal Embossers, India

Metal Embossers, India


Our metal vessels are made by a fair trade project in Jodhpur. The workshop employs mostly men who are highly skilled at hammering the metal into elegant shapes. All the decoration is done by hand using shaped tools and a hammer to emboss patterns into the surface.

Rajasthan is India's largest state, located in the north-west. It's one of most economically disadvantaged states in India and youth unemployment is particularly high. Despite these challenges, Rajasthan has a strong artistic heritage and handicraft tradition. It is famous for the beautiful 'Pink City' of Jaipur and 'Blue City' of Jodhpur.

Brass


This warm metal is an alloy of copper and zinc. It has been prized by craftsmen for centuries for its golden colour and workability, which means it can be shaped and decorated using hand tools only. Brass wine vessels have been found dating back to Roman times.

How is it made?


Each vase is hammered into shape from metal sheets. Look closely and you'll see the hammer marks around the base. The pattern is embossed onto the surface using small tools, with each tool stamping an individual element of the design. The artisan must be an expert at positioning the tools to create the overall pattern.

How your purchase improves lives


Rajasthan has one of the highest rates of youth unemployment in India. This fair trade project offers young men a good wage, job stability and career progression in an area where opportunities are limited. Using recycled metal also has an economic ripple effect further down the supply chain, where some of India's poorest people make their living collecting and selling waste materials.

"My job is to do the decorative punching of the metal sheets. I enjoy working with metal because it responds well to design and is easy to carve" Jagdish

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Image credits: Nkuku